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The Creative Zero - Case 3, or Blame it On Kelsey

pegcase3 This hand arose somewhere in the Jurassic Period of my bridge career. Thus, hand records and an exact accounting of the entire layout are – thank God – no longer available. Still, a rough approximation of how I managed to earn both a zero and the evil eye remains clear even today.

Eagerly, I had been reading Hugh Kelsey’s tome, “Match-Point Bridge”. There, the theoretician enlightened the mysteries of third-chair opening bids...

With the chance that the hand is not really ours, he explained, opening leads can be critical. Thus, Kelsey advocated for choosing 1 of a major with holdings such as KQJ, AKQ, AKJ and the like.

Yes; really.

So, I picked up a hand that seemed to leap right off the pages of the book! I held:


Not only did it appear to me that the opening lead could be critical, odds were high that it was not our hand. I might even pick off their suit with a 1 bid!

It gets better.

Our partnership plays 2 way reverse Drury – with diamonds the 3 card holding. Ergo, I schemed, “If he has 4+ spades, I’ll declare the potential Moysian (4-3 fit). If only 3, then I’ll pass two diamonds !"  Oh my; too delicious for words.

Everything went according to plan. The opponents did not get into the auction. Partner did show a 3-card limit raise with his 2. I did pass – congratulating myself that the stronger of the two in our partnership was now declaring.

When I got "The Look", momentary worry struck. In a long-time partnership, you get to a stage where you can read subtle clues, the kind that silently say, “Should I kill you now, or wait until the session is over?” Still, confident in my partner’s abilities, I sat back to witness his talents and ultimately collect my compliments.

I am still waiting.

How could I be so unlucky?!? As it turns out, partner had the audacity to hold something like this: Q109 AKxx x Q10xxx. He was certain that against these particular opponents, trump would never be led. Even I, he stated, would have been able to steer 2 to victory – perhaps even plus 140.

By passing 2, not only had I stopped in a spot where we went minus, I committed an even worse crime. Poor partner had to declare. “If you’re going to do something ridiculous, at least arrange it so you can play the hand,” came from across the table.

To this day, I’m still not certain how much of the blame ought really to be directed at me for my creative zero. One might actually describe me as an innocent bystander. Hugh Kelsey: 90% Bundy: 10%?

Seems fair to me.

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